Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. But once you've got the keys, it's truly one of the most exciting things you'll ever experience.

Finally, you have a place you can actually change and make your own. Your own home that you can personalise and decorate exactly how you want. Up to date, unique and molded around how you love to live.

And if you've just moved house or are planning on moving soon, you'll already be planning what you want the place to look like. After all, it's only natural to want to stack up on scatter cushions and scented candles rather than all the boring bits like lightbulbs and cleaning products.

But when you're furnishing your first home, often you're starting from scratch. Many of us have been living in rented accommodation or with our parents while we save money for a house. And furniture is not something we're abundant in.

And kitting out an entire house can definitely push our finances to their limits.

But with a strict budget and some careful planning, you'll have your new house looking like home in no time.

Decorating and furnishing your first home

1) Get planning

It's so easy to get carried away with dreams of statement pieces. However, although these things are nice to keep in mind, learning about how you live and what suits you best is much more important. It's all very well having a giant egg chair in your living room but if you're planning on hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet anytime soon, then this might not be the most practical choice.

2) Easy storage is key

Moving into a new house means having all your things in boxes with nowhere to put anything. That's why storage is so important.

Storage is about giving all your things a home and when everything has a place, you get to avoid those endless piles of possessions or stacks of boxes still waiting to be unpacked. It also helps your new home feel less chaotic – which is always the way when you first move in.

Cube furniture is a fantastic solution for any home. There are so many sizes and colours to choose from and most importantly, it's quick and easy to use – making unpacking a lot more enjoyable.

It's also great value for money – perfect for budget conscious first-time buyers.

3) Light fantastic

Not only will any light fitting or re-wiring require an electrician, but planning your lighting out before you start painting is always a good idea. There's nothing worse than spending all that time decorating a room, only to find out you need to redo a large part of the ceiling after changing up your lights.

Lighting is so important and can really affect the mood of a room. Especially if you have gone for more neutral colours. Using lots of white and grey can make your rooms feel cold, so it's a great idea to use warm lighting options to soften the room's general tone.

Equally, lamps need space. The whereabouts of all your plugs will also affect this so something to keep in mind while planning out your rooms.

4) Personalise

New homes can feel strange and unfamiliar, so finding ways to make them your own will really help you to settle in and feel relaxed. Luckily, this one is nice and easy to do. By simply dotting around photos of friends and family around the home as well as favourite souvenirs, you'll soon have the place looking like your own.

neatly arranged photo frames mounted to a wall

5) Stick to neutral colours

Colour schemes will be racing through your mind right now. But before you start stocking up on litres of mint kiss and arctic fox, it's a good idea to stick with neutral first. Plan in your wall colours for further on down the line. That way, you have time to live in your new home and see where you get the most light. You also get time to shop around for larger pieces such as beds and sofas, so you can visualise how the room is going to look when it's finished.

6) Soften the edges

New houses can often feel cold and perhaps a little stark. Make your rooms feel warm and inviting in an instant with some soft furnishings; and they don't need to be expensive. If you pick easy shades such as grey, cream and duck egg blue, you'll have back up blankets and cushions that will fit in with your colour scheme – whatever colours you choose.

A new throw on an old sofa is also a great way of helping the place look like new while you're still finding your feet.

7) Add splashes of colour in easy ways

If you're keen to brighten up the place with a good dose of colour, you don't have to wait to crack open the paint pots. Cushions, shower curtains and bed sheets are just some of the ways you can add blocks of colour to your new home. And the best part about it is you don't have to commit. These are all temporary items; sometimes having a quick fix is great for bringing happiness into your home while you're still doing it up.

8) Bring the outside in

House plants are fantastic for homes. They help break up furniture, soften corners and add life and colour to any room. Having a variety of different sized house plants is also a great way to add balance to your interiors. They're fresh, ever-changing and great for the air too.

Why not grow some fresh herbs in the kitchen? And larger plants such as Yucca plants and Madagascar Dragon trees are great for bathrooms and conservatories.

9) The little touches count

Looking after the details here and there around the home will definitely pay off. Think welcome mats, candles, lovely mugs, fridge magnets and room sprays – perfect!

hartleys direct stunning wall brackets with real wood shelf and accessories

10) Change it up

It can be very easy to get stressed over each decision when designing your first home. Just remember that these things always take time. And the best part is, you can always change it up. Painted walls can always be re-painted, sofas can be covered and layouts can be moved.

Creating something that's just right will take a few goes but you will get there.

And in the meantime, if you're looking for a little inspiration, just find us on Instagram and Facebook @HartleysDirect, for all your homeware needs.